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Intro Sir Wilfred Grenfell IGA Lantern Slides Timeline Glossary


When Dr. Wilfred Grenfell first visited the Labrador coast in 1892 to bring medical services to the fishermen, he found a diverse population which included Aboriginal peoples, permanent settlers, and seasonal fishers from the island of Newfoundland. The Indigenous groups were the Inuit and the Innu, residents of the Labrador peninsula for thousands of years. The settlers (or "livyers" ) on the Labrador were frequently of both British and Aboriginal descent. They numbered 3,000 and lived in small communities scattered along the coast.

The Innu Nation
The Labrador Inuit Association
The Labrador Métis Nation
THEM DAYS Labrador Archives

In the summer fishing season, 30,000 fishermen from the island of Newfoundland fished the rich cod stocks off Labrador. These seasonal fishermen included "stationers" and "floaters". Stationers were fishers who arrived on schooners and coastal vessels, often with their families. They erected temporary shelters in the coves of Northern Newfoundland and Labrador and engaged in all aspects of the salt fish industry. "Floaters" were the crews of migratory fishing schooners who followed the fish along the coast. The fisheries were viewed with curiosity by Grenfell Mission staff and volunteers who were intrigued by the specialized processes and the unfamiliar language of the Newfoundland and Labrador fisheries

Newfoundland Salt Fisheries